Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 62.... What Have These Hands Done For You???

Lately, I have been on a quest to really find out who my Savior is! I want to know who He is, how He acted, and how I can live more like Him. It has been a very interesting few weeks. I feel like every time you try and do something good, Satan tempts you even more so you don’t have these spiritual experiences. He doesn’t want you to learn, he doesn’t want that type of progression. So as I have been concentrating my studies, my thoughts, and my actions towards Christ I have seen an increase in spirituality and an increase in happiness.

 This week while I was studying, I came across a scripture in John 17:3:

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

I took this scripture and put it to the test. I wanted to find out Who He Is:
Who is the Christ...The Prince of Peace?  

During the week my studies were turned to the scripture that is in Matthew 16:24:

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 

This scripture talks about if we want to get to know Christ, we must:
2. TAKE UP THE CROSS, or in other words, give up all worldliness, give up all disobedience.

These 3 steps are the steps that will lead us to a better understand of our Savior and Redeemer. As we Come to Him and obey His commandments, we are more receptive to spiritual promptings. We will be guided and directed in the right path, the path of light and never ending happiness. As we follow Him, we will understand the importance of His coming and more importantly, His Great Sacrifice: THE ATONEMENT. 
Christ has done everything for us. If it wasn’t for Him, we would be nothing. We are children of men, are nothing in compared to Him and our Father. We would have remained dirty and marked from the World, but thanks to Him and His eternal sacrifice we have the option to have Eternal Life. 

This week I had one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had, as far as understanding who my Savior is and what He has done for us. 
This week we went up to Concepcion to have a meeting with President Bluth. It was a really spiritual meeting, but towards the middle of the meeting, the Assistants get up and put a picture up on the big screen. It is a picture of two hands of a woman. They ask "Whose hands are these?" Everyone starts saying Hermana Bluth, Hermana so and so. No one could guess. Then they turn to one Elder and ask him. "Whose hands are these?" He just started bawling. He said, those are my mom’s hands. They then went on to show a picture of his mom and her hands. They asked him, "What have those hands done for you in your life?" He went on to say that those hands have done everything for him. As he testified the spirit filled to room. You could see the love he had for his parents and the things he had learned from them also. The assistants went on to show more pictures, each time asking the same questions. Each time asking, whose hands are these? Each and every time it was a different Elder or Sister. They then would go on to testify of how much their parent’s hands have helped them in their life. I have never been in a room with so many tears and a feeling of joy. As each and every Elder and Hermana saw the hands of their parents they would break out in tears and would remember how much their parents have done for them. At the end they pull up a picture. The picture is of two hands, these two hands have two marks in the palms. They asked, "whose hands are these?" We all choked out underneath our tears. Jesus Christ. 

I began to think everything Christ has given me, all that He has done for me.

I want to tell each and every one of you, that our Savior is everything to me. I am so grateful for Him and His eternal Sacrifice. I have never felt so much love for one person. As I sat there and pondered the love I have for my Savior, I grew closer to him. I understood a little more of who He is. He literally is the Savior of this World. There has been no one else more perfect, no one else more loving than that of our Savior.

 I challenge each and every one of you to participate in this same challenge. Find out who you Savior is and what He has done for you. I have found out who He is... and What He has done for me. I testify that He lives and loves each and every one of you. No matter our defects, no matter our mistakes, he loves each and every one of us the same. He hears and looks after each one of us. As we get a better understanding of who He is, we will grow closer to Him and receive greater blessings. 


Of these things I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen

My Zone

P-Day hike to an awesome waterfall

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 61.... Baptisms and Thankfulness!!!

Finish strong, Elder Anderson!

We had cambios (transfers) this last week... and the news is... I will be staying with Elder Anderson for another cambio. Which means I will be killing him ;) He will be finishing up here in about 3 weeks…the 15th of December. That also means that I will be staying here in Los Angeles, Villa Obispo for 3 months more. I am super excited. When we received the news, I was shocked. I thought I was going to leave this area, even though I just got here I didn’t think they were going to keep us together for so long. It was a great call that we received. We are both super excited to stay together and I will be with him until the end. Elder Anderson is one of my best bros. It is going to be a dope cambio. 

As for other news this week, I thought I would tell you a little bit about the baptism we had last week. This baptism was by far one of the most spiritual experiences I have had here in Chile. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a little girl named Emilia and how great of miracle it was to find her and be able to begin teaching her. Well while we were teaching here, we were also able to get in and teach the family. And like I have said before, this family was a really active family, they had been sealed in the temple and have all been baptized. They fell from the church after the parents had some problems and got a divorce.  There is the mom, the dad, and 5 girls, (ALL of which have kids now). They are all living in the same area, but 2 different houses.  As we were teaching Emilia we were also able to help this family. We have been able to see so many miracles that have come through teaching this family. God has put us in the right situation at the right time. In our time here we have seen two of the daughters change their desires of smoking, and drinking, and have made a complete 180. They have decided to go to church each Sunday and continue to grow closer to God. We know that, that decision came as the spirit entered back into their lives. 

When the day of the baptism came, we knew it was going to be a special day. We showed up to fill the baptismal font. I could feel the spirit enter into the church. I knew this was a special family and that something was going to happen. Later that night we started the baptism. The whole family showed up. It had been 15 years for some of them, since they had gone to church the last time. As they entered the church you could see their eyes light up with joy. They could feel the same feeling they had felt before. We continued on with the program. As we got down to the time where she was to enter into the water, the family was super nervous. You could feel it in the air. Anxious anticipation. My comp. had the privilege to baptize Emilia. As my comp went on to say the words of the baptismal covenant, the spirit testified to each and every person in that room. I have never felt with such conviction the presence of the spirit. As Emilia was dunked under the water and risen up, you could see the pureness of her heart and the pureness of her smile. As she looked to her family, her family could only look back and smile… giving the sign of appreciation. There was not a dry eye in the room. 

You could see that the family had felt the spirit and that they had seen and felt the spirit of the Lord. Since that day they have been more interested in listening to us and have been more dedicated in reading and praying. I know this family is a special family and they have a huge work to do here in this life. I love the way God prepares His children.
Emelia's baptism

Well that was my spiritual experience for the week. I also wanted to share a few scriptures with each of you.. As all of you know this week is Thanksgiving. The Day of Thanks. This week I was able to think a lot more positively and was able to be thankful for all that I have. As I thought more positively and was more thankful I could feel the spirit more in my life, and I felt more of the love of the Savior. I hope each and every one of you feels this same spirit this week.

D&C 78:19:
19And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more. 

I hope each and every one of you have a great Thanksgiving. I am so THANKFUL for all of you and everything you have done for me and my family.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 60... Up's, Down's, and Miracles in Chile!!!

Wow what a week of up and downs, twists and turns. I don’t think I have ever had my emotions flip so fast before. This week was a spiritual high and an emotional low. I had no clue what to think... it all just happened so fast and I didn’t even know what hit me. For those of you who don’t know; this week I had a real big scare. For the last couple months I have been struggling with some knee pain. I was playing soccer a few months ago and I fell while running because something popped in my knee. Ever since that day I have had really bad knee pain. I have continued to walk on it and was just hoping it would go away. After about a month of it just popping and rotating I thought I would get it checked out. I got a few tests done; an X-ray and an MRI. The doctors wanted to know what was going on. After we got the results back, come to find out that I have a slight tear in my meniscus and a piece of the bone in my knee broke off and is causing a lot of pain, and this piece of bone is moving around and making everything worse. Honestly I never thought anything would come of it. I just continued working and just thought they would give me meds and a few work out sheets and call it good. Well, come to find out, they sent the x-rays up to the doctor in Salt Lake, who is in charge of all the missionaries. Well last Monday, while I was writing to my family, I got a call from President Bluth. I answered and listened to him tell me the worst news I could have possibly heard. He went on to tell me that the doctors from Salt Lake have looked at my x-rays and they are demanding that I go home. He began asking me when I would like to fly out. I sat there speechless. As I listened to his words, my heart sunk and I began to feel that the end of my mission had just hit me. I could not function in that moment. I sat there and asked myself a bunch of questions. I asked God… WHY ME? WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN? For the next 3 days I began to study and pray. Asking for an answer from God. I was asking for a little bit of comfort. I studied it out in my mind, all the options I had. For a few days I could not sleep. I thought that my mission had come to an end. I began to feel down, I felt like this was a punishment from God. I felt like everything that I had done here was finished. I wanted nothing more than to stay in the mission. I realized that staying in the mission was not an answer... it was not an option. I realized that God had other plans for me. Maybe He needed me home. I began to feel comfortable and willing to do what God wanted me to do. I was eager and ready to go home and get back to the mission as quick as possible to finish my time here as a full time missionary. One night while I was studying I felt like I had made my decision. I felt as if I had done what God had wanted me to do. I had made the decision to go home get the surgery and get back to the mission as quick as possible. I knelt down one last time before I was to call President and tell him my answer. I knelt down with a real intent of finding and answer. I have never offered up a prayer as powerful and as heartfelt as that one. I could feel the spirit feel the room. As I got up from my kneeling position. I felt urged to get a picture off the desk of my companion. It was a picture of Christ. I had seen it a million times before, but I was urged to go look at it. As I picked it up and looked at it, this is what I saw….

I had never felt so much comfort in my life. I felt as if Christ was telling me that the mission is 2 years. And that I was going to be able to finish my 2 years as a full time missionary.  I began to cry. I knew that Christ was there helping me through this rough time. As I thought about what I had just experienced, the realization came to me that the answer from the doctor was still I had to go home. I knew what God wanted me to do... but what was I going to do to stay here and finish my mission. The next day I went to write my mom and tell her what I was going to do. The first thing I read from my mom was:

"I just talked to Dr. Mitch Larsen. He thinks that if you are asymptomatic... No pain or swelling daily, than he can't see any reason to bring you home! He is going to review your MRI and discuss with the other doctor, and get back with me tonight!"

My mom had told me that the doctors were second guessing themselves. Then today I received an email from my grandma that really told me what happened. Her email wrote.

  “This was such a scary week for us hearing about your knee!  What are the odds that the doctor your mission president called just happens to be the father of your surgeon?  He is the same doctor who fixed my shoulder, and will do my knee, as well as working to see what's going on with Clay's shoulder, and the surgeon who operated on Riley!  It was tough to get in touch with Mitch Larsen because he was in surgery all day Monday, and had a really busy schedule and hadn't returned your mom's call about getting him to look at your MRI!  The mission president was pushing for an answer and it was panic time!  His mother-in-law is one of my best friends from high school, and I was fortunate to catch her at her home in Virginia, and she put a rush on Mitch to call your mom which let him hear how you were doing instead of how extremely serious the nurse had told his dad you were!  This whole thing was not just a coincidence!  I feel it was a miracle and a message that you are not done there!!  You have more important work to do and more people to impact and get to help!  We were all so excited about the news!!!”

As I was reading that I knew God had answered my prayers. I knew that He had put people in the right places at the right time.   After many sleepless nights and many conversations with doctors, and parents I had finally received my answer:


I could not be happier. I have never felt so much happiness in my life. I know God is giving me a second chance to be here and that my work is not done yet. I know that miracles have not ceased to exist and that God loves each and every one of us. I wish I could write more about what I was able to see but there is too little time. To finish off the week we finished with a really spiritual baptism. I will write more about that next week, but it was just the way God was showing me that I am supposed to be here and that this is where I am supposed to be. 
I love you all so much... thanks for your love and support!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 59..... Where is my Treasure?

This week Elder Anderson and I have really been super focused on a few of our investigators. We are getting really close to having a few baptisms. This week we are going to have a baptism of a little girl named Emilia. Emilia is an 11 year old girl that has been prepared since day one. Elder Anderson and I really had a cool story with this girl. I want to share this experience with everyone because I was able to learn more about how God works and how we should never give up. This is an experience that I will never forget.

About a month ago Elder Anderson and I were out walking in the street. The night before we had planned for a super awesome day. We had plans every hour on the hour until the end of the night. As we left our house we were super happy and ready to work. Both of us had so much energy and we felt like we were going to have such a great day. As we began to go the lessons we had, we discovered that no one was home. House after house, appointment after appointment... No one was home. We knocked and knocked and no one answered. We looked for people in the streets and no one seemed to be around. I looked at Elder Anderson and asked him, where did everyone go? It was as if the city had been abandoned. As we continued to walk more and more, our bodies began to become tired, our minds began to become a little dis-animated. Satan began to put thought into our head like... WHY ARE WE HERE?? WHY ARE WE DOING THIS? WHY AREN'T PEOPLE ANSWERING?? We began to be attacked by our inner thoughts. At first we went out with Faith that God was going to bless us and then we instantly turned to beat down, defeated, missionaries waiting until the clock strike 9:30 p.m. so we could enter into our house. We ended up just struggling for the next few hours. Door after door, street after street. NOTHING WAS HAPPENING!!! Finally after 4 hours of struggling not finding anything. I turned to Elder Anderson and said we need to say a prayer. We both went down this little street and said a short heartfelt prayer, asking for help and asking to be lead to someone who is prepared to hear this message. As we got up from saying the prayer I felt my body become energized and animated. We looked up and said here we go, we know we are going to find someone. We started walking down a street where we felt like we should go. The first people we see, are this younger looking mom with a  little 11 year old girl. We go up and begin talking to them. We had a great conversation. We sat there and talked for like 5 minutes. Come to find out, the mom had been baptized 20 years ago and her daughter had never been baptized, but lately the little girl has been reading a lot and wants to be baptized. My comp and I looked at each other and just smiled. We knew God had led us to someone who has been preparing for the message. We ended up getting to their house about a week later and we began teaching this family. There has been a lot of ups and downs, but through all the ups and downs the family has grown closer to Christ. The mom and aunt have come back to church and the grandpa is going to come this week. So not only did God prepare us with one of His children, but also to be able to bring back many of His lost sheep, to bring them back to the fold. Emilia will be baptized this Saturday and we could not be happier. This all happened because we followed the promptings of the Spirit.

Also this week as I was reading in the Book of Mormon, I came across a scripture that really called my attention: 3 Nephi 13:20-21:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. 
 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also

I began to think to myself...... WHERE IS MY TREASURE??? What are my main goals? Am I working and growing for me, for God, to show others I am great? Am I here to grow because I love God? Why do I do the things I do? What are my biggest plans? What do I want to accomplish. WHERE IS MY HEART??? 
I then continued to read and the following versus of scripture say:

24 No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, 
or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. 

I realized that we cannot serve 2 Gods. If our goals, and our hearts are given to God, we will receive the promise of everlasting life, but if we do not give our hearts to God we will be giving them to the Father of all lies. The very tempter of all men. As I read these words, my mind was turned to my life. I began to realize that often times I gave into the slight temptations of this one they call Satan. I realized that I was not perfect. But then I was reminded of my favorite scripture: 

"Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall" (Helaman 5:12).

I was given the comfort, that if we continue to focus our goals and give our hearts to Christ, or if we build our foundation upon Him... WE WILL NOT FALL. Satan will send his shafts in the whirlwind, his mighty storms... we will be tempted above all imagine. The world around us will become more wicked, but if we are firmly built on OUR ROCK... which is Christ, we will not fall. We will at times slip… but HE WILL ALWAYS BE THERE TO PICK US UP:) I know these things to be true because I have seen them throughout my mission. I have become closer to Christ through mistakes and suffering. I have seen the power the atonement. I have seen how it shapes us into being the sons and daughters that HE wants us to be. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 58... They did Pray and Fast Oft!!!

This week was a great week for Elder Anderson and me. We had a lot of awesome experiences this week. Many of spiritual growth, many faith testing experiences, and to finish it all off interviews with President Bluth.

First off, I am going to start off with a funny story. On Thursday, Elder Anderson and I had just decided we would go to the ghetto part of our sector and contact some houses over there. We had been to this area before, and each time we had gone in there we had left just busting a gut at funny things that had happened. In this area there are many drunks and many crazy people. So as we were walking through this area, of course us being two big white guys everyone decides to mess with us. We always hear, “Hey Gringos.....1.....2.......3”! They try and speak English to us.  We usually just joke along with them. But on Thursday we were walking through this neighborhood and a bunch of teenagers start yelling at us, "Hey Gringos... Play..... Soccer."
There was like 15 to 20 little teenagers playing soccer. They wanted us to come play with them. We said why not? Let’s play. We made them a deal: If Elder Anderson and I could make a goal with all of them guarding the goal, than they all had to go to church. They said it was a deal. So the next thing we know is all these little kids line up guarding the goal. There was no room to even fit a little tennis ball. We still made our attempt. I went and kicked the ball.... the ball spun and hit off the foot of one of the kids and almost went in. It was super funny. Elder Anderson and I almost had 15 little kids coming to church with us. That is not all, because they invited us to come back. So this week we are going to practice a little bit of our soccer skills and hopefully this weekend we can get all those little kids to go to church!

This week was a really spiritual week for me. I had been thinking a lot lately about how I can become closer to God. How I can be more receptive to the spirit and listen to the promptings. How I can let God mold me into who He wants me to be. As I talked to President Bluth and fasted this week, my thoughts turned to the Scriptures. I anxiously searched for answers the whole week. I read and prayed, read and prayed. Each and every day I saw and learned something new that helped me get closer and closer to my answer. One thing that really helped me this week was the advice I received from my Mission President. He said to become closer to Christ we must fast. To become closer to Christ, we must fast. Just as Alma and all the missionaries did in the Book of Mormon "AND THEY DID PRAY AND FAST OFT." They were in constant prayer and fast. This is why they were so in tune with the spirit. This is why the spirit literally taught through them. This weekend as I went into my fast, I fasted for the answer. Sunday morning as I was reading in the book of Helaman, I stumbled upon a scripture that answered this question perfectly. 

Helaman 3:35:
35Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility , and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh from Giving your heart to God"

Even though I had been feeling inadequate, or even though I had been down; I know that God loves His Children. I had been on a long quest to find the answer and with this scripture I found it. Life, at times, is one of trials and difficulties. It is not something of ease. But as we give our hearts to God, we will be sanctified by Him. He will mold us like that of potter’s clay. As I read and thought of this scripture, I was turned to think of all the Conference talks about giving our heart to God and we will become who he wants us to be. I know as we give Him our heart we will be perfected and sanctified by the Atonement of Christ

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.